Happy New Year!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year and the best for 2020.

I have lots of plans for the coming year including retooling the website (which I’ve already started, so some pages may be a bit “under construction”) and publishing a new series, The Camelot Immortals. I’m also publishing a new collection of horror fantasy stories in March called Vision and Nightmares.

So I hope you have a wonderful year and all your resolutions come true!

Christmas Lites IX is Here!

Christmas Lites IX is now available.

The latest charity anthology in the series, (featuring my story, The Reindeer Solution, and the debut appearance of the Thunder Penguin) is ready to read.

Thirty-six stories to give you your holiday fix. Thirty-six times to get a Christmas chill or a warm, fuzzy feeling. This group of authors have come together for the 9th year in a row to help support the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. In the coldest of times, the warmth of the heart can bring hope to many who are in need this time of year. Read shorts from your favorite authors and discover new ones to love. Spread some holiday cheer this season!

 


The Thunder Penguin!




Remembrance Day Poem: The November Wind

landscape-4007310_640

Image by enriquelopezgarre from Pixabay

 

My annual poem for Remembrance Day.

 

The November Wind

 

The wind blows cold 

in November

across the fields of memory

and the fallen

Across the rows of poppies

among the graves

The wind blows cold

in November

Lest we forget

the sacrifices of the dead.

 

 

Copyright A. F. Stewart 2019

Fall TV Season: First Impressions

Today we venture away from the world of books into the new batch of network TV shows, specifically three new shows: Prodigal Son, Evil and Emergence. I’m going to give you my thoughts on those shows after viewing their opening episode.

 

Prodigal Son:

Synopsis: The son of a serial killer works as a profiler for the police, but can’t escape his past.

Review: This show doesn’t know what it wants to be, a drama or a comedy, and tries to tread the middle ground in-between. As a result, it has a wildly uneven tone and is, frankly, a bit of a mess. The first episode veers from serious drama, to satire, to parody (with on very bad and unfunny pun), never catches its breath or allows any quality character development, leaning at times into caricature. Had they picked a tone and stuck with it, say drama with dark comedic moments, it might have potential. As it is, I can’t say it is worth watching.

 

Evil:

Synopsis: A female psychologist joins the investigative team looking into the church’s backlog of unexplained mysteries.

Review: I liked this one, although there were a couple of issues with the first episode. The main characters were well-developed, with some room to expand on their stories and the creepiness factor was excellent (the scenes with “George” were shiver inducing). However, the ending felt a bit more of a rushed bait and switch, then an evolution of the plot and *spoilers* it came down hard on the side of debunking. Which is fine, but it does make me wonder if this will be a pattern, and it detracts from the whole horror/supernatural aspects of the show. If it plans to be an “everything can be explained” show, then why play up the horror aspects in the promos? I hope we get some speculation in future shows, or it will end up another crime/investigation show.

 

Emergence:

Synopsis: A small town police chief finds a mysterious girl at the site of a plane crash and is embroiled in a conspiracy.

Review: I’m reserving judgement on this show. I liked the first episode and it was well done, with good tension, nice characters and room to build. But, as with so many sci-fi offerings lately, it is revolving around the “government conspiracy” a tired old trope that often wears thin. So far, it has handled the conspiracy aspects well, keeping them sinister and mysterious and relatively realistic. I’ll continue to watch and see how it plays out.

There are my mini-reviews on three horror/fantasy/sci-fi shows of the new fall season.

Is Facebook Broken?

broken-glass-2208593_640 rotatedImage by Ruth Archer from Pixabay

 

Is Facebook Broken?

The answer to that question, in my opinion, is a resounding, YES.

This is based not only on their ever-continuing changes that are resulting in the site being less and less user-friendly but in my own recent experiences as a banned author. As I have previously reported here, and elsewhere, Facebook blocked my website from being shared on its site. They gave me no warning, no email or message this had happened, and ABSOLUTELY no explanation about why even after many, many, repeated messages.

I found out about this ban of my site two months ago in April when I tried to share it and received an error message stating: “Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive.” What’s more, my website had been blocked by Instagram back around February, so I suspect the ban dates back that far. And having my site blocked from sharing would have been bad enough, but on further investigation, I found that EVERY POST I shared from my website had been RETROACTIVELY removed from Facebook.

So, in essence, my author website, my main marketing platform, had been wiped out of existence on Facebook without explanation, warning, or even the decency of informing me.

Possibly on the say-so of a total stranger. Or maybe a whim. Or maybe pure unadulterated censorship due to my writing in the horror genre. Or a malicious attack by trolls. I don’t know, because, and this where the broken part comes in, Facebook WILL NOT communicate with me. I reviewed their community standards and I still don’t see how my site violated any of them. I have messaged them weekly, daily, done everything but send up smoke signals, but I have heard not one peep from them about the matter.

However, I have heard many, many peeps from them trying to get me to boost posts, run ads and generally spend my money on their site. My answer to that is NO. They don’t get my business anymore.

I don’t do business with companies that are uncommunicative, that treat you with such disrespect and disdain. These are not good practices or policies, and maybe it is time we face facts. Facebook doesn’t want to be a good company, they just want your money.

 

This experience has taught me the following:

Don’t waste money on Facebook.

They do not care about their users.

No one is safe on that site.

It’s time to move on.

Facebook is broken.